"You mean they're not coming for sure, as it stands now?" I asked."You better believe it," John shot back. "They were just up here looking."
Long View Farm sits atop a large hill, or I should say, several large hills, somewhat west of Worcester, Massachusetts. It's deep country, and is about as picturesque a spread as you'll find. Large open hayfields, edged by white fences, a pond, a riding ring, rock walls, and lots of animals. Horses, cows, chickens, geese, cats, dogs, birds, fish. You name it, we've probably got it. It takes a full staff at Long View just to maintain the animals, and you haven't even begun to talk about rock 'n' roll, and what we have to do to take care of our clients.
Guests stay either in the rambling white Farmhouse, or in the bedroom suites in the Red Barn, just across a pink and well-manicured gravel drive. From the outside, neither the Farmhouse nor the barn shows any signs of the entertainment business, or of rock 'n' roll. The exteriors are perfectly preserved, just as we found them, although with renewed coats of paint, and lots more flowers and bushes growing about. The insides of each structure are another story. Each building was completely gutted of any walls (and many ceilings) which were not structurally active, and large rambling living areas were created. Wood everywhere, hanging plants, skylight hatches, woodstoves, a huge fireplace, and lots of recording gear. It's hard to tell where the recreational or living areas at Long View end and where the professional areas begin. The latter are extremely comfortable, even plush, and so are fun to work in. The former areas --- the living areas --- each have acoustical properties all their own, and have mike boxes built into the walls. The best vocal room at Long View is J. Geils's room -- the "blue" bedroom on the second floor which is now painted white. You can work wherever you want at Long View, and ay time night or day.
The place seemed never so trim, spanking, and polished as it did that night. The inlaid pine floor gleamed with fresh Butcher's Wax, the wine glasses sparkled, and the air seemed particularly cool, and clean. That same morning I had been in Rome --- hot and hurried as I fought my way to the First Class Alitalia lounge at Fiumicino airport. It was good to be home.
Everybody was on hand, and apparently waiting for me. Kathleen Holden was there. She's our Studio Manager, and the wife of Kent, who signed on very early, tearing down barns for the barnboards, helping hustle business for a while, and lately in the throes of a conversion to Eastern religion. Nuts, no flesh, and daily asanas, to purify still more a mind which seems pretty pure to me already. Kathleen was there, with her little boy, Robert.
Next were Geoff and John --- friends of mine and stalwart companions in project Long View. Musicians, songwriters, and artists in wood. Geoff and John had literally rebuilt Long View. Every piece of wood that you can touch --- floors, walls, ceilings, cubbyholes --- had been cut, fitted, nailed, sanded, stained, sealed, and, in most cases, urethaned, by Geoff and John. Their work was extraordinary. I had met them in Provincetown nearly 15 years earlier.
Then there was Jesse Henderson, Chief Engineer, friend and guru to all area musicians, and good heart. There was no business in either studio tonight, but Jesse was nevertheless on hand, a patch cord around his neck, and a beer in his hand.
Pat O'Chaps, likewise on hand. Pat's real name is Glennon, but we call her O'Chaps because of the way she looks in her riding britches. Pat gives horseback rides to superstars, and considers my horse, Aerogorn, which I never ride, to be her own.
John Farrell was the first to speak. "Gil, you've got to call Alan Dunn the first thing in the morning. He's getting one story from Randall, and another story from Kathleen, bless her, and you have to straighten things out right away."
Kathleen squirmed prettily in her chair.
"Tell him we're going to build a concert stage in the barn," Geoff Myers said.
"Right," John continued, "you absolutely have to say that to him, because otherwise they may not come. I'm sure of it. Mick needs a stage to leap around on, and we'll build him one, won't we, Geoff?"
Geoff nodded and smiled. "A real nice stage, Gil, in the loft of the barn, just outside the door to the B-Control room."
"You mean they're not coming for sure, as it stands now?" I asked.
"You better believe it," John shot back. "They were just up here looking. On the good side, they absolutely love it. The Farm. The overall layout. All except for the space problem. Mick sent them out to find a place where he could rehearse the band, and rehearse the show. It's stuck there."
"Also on the matter of price," Kathleen interjected. "I'm afraid I may have made a mistake when I said only a thousand dollars a day. But I thought it was some small-time band from New York City. At least that's what this girl, Jane Rose, led me to believe. And we hadn't done a thing since Geils, and we needed the money, so I said a thousand dollars a day. I'm sorry."
I agreed that we'd need more than that. Particularly if we were going to have to do some construction.
"O.K.," I said, "let's go up to the loft and take a look at the area. I'll call this fellow Alan Dunn tomorrow, and then we'll see." .
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.